Vascular Biology / Tumor Angiogenesis

Our research focuses in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis during development and in pathological conditions. For this we have undertaken investigations to determine the contribution of three key signaling pathways, namely VEGF, Notch and integrins during vascular morphogenesis and tumor growth. Using constitutive and inducible endothelial- and smooth muscle-specific deletions by Cre-lox technology, we have found that these pathways participate at several stages to ensure that patterning, heterotypic cell interactions and responses to the environment are correctly performed. Disturbances in each of these pathways, either temporally or spatially, have been instructive in elucidating their contribution to vascular morphogenesis. Blood vessels are an essential component of the homeostasis of to every tissue and abnormalities in vascular function are associated with inflammatory disorders, tumor growth, ischemia, diabetes to cite only a few. Establishing parallels between tumor and developmental vascular growth can be instructive to derive novel therapeutic avenues guided towards suppression of neoangiogenesis in cancer or induction of vascular growth during ischemia and tissue repair.